John came to the crossroads at just shy of noon, where a man dressed all in black stared up at another man hanging from a gallows-tree. No, not hanging; he was being hung, the loop still slack around his neck, his body dangling in mid-air. That, John thought, his pack heavy on his shoulder and his hat pulled low, was not something a wise man would get involved in. And yet, he could not resist asking, “What did he do?”
The man in black turned around and glared at John. “He asked too many impertinent questions.”
The man with the rope around his neck laughed at that, a rueful, amused sound, and John decided he liked the dead man.
“You might want to move on,” the man in black continued in a voice that wasn’t a suggestion. “This is a bad place to be for a lone traveler.”